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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

THURSDAY, August 24, 2006

100 KILOS OF COCAINE SEIZED IN WAKE COUNTY

RALEIGH - Acting United States Attorney George E. B. Holding announced the filing of a Criminal Complaint and the arrest of CARLOS HUMBERTO ZAMARRIPA, CARLOS HUMBERTO AHMADA, and FERNANDO SANCHEZ-ALMARAZ, all of Wake Forest, North Carolina, and JUAN CARLOS RUELAS and BETRAM J. SINCLAIR, both of Phoenix, Arizona.

According to the Criminal Complaint which was filed on Thursday, August 24, 2006, and unsealed today, there is probable cause to believe that ZAMARRIPA, AHMADA, SANCHEZ-ALMARAZ, RUELAS and SINCLAIR did knowingly and intentionally conspire to possess, with the intent to distribute in excess of five kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1) and 846. These arrests are the result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation “Operation Pincer” which began in 2003 and involves a multi-jurisdiction narcotic trafficking operation.

Drug Enforcement Administration Raleigh Resident Office State and Local Task Force and Raleigh Police Department have been conducting a multi-jurisdictional narcotics investigation targeting the ZAMARRIPA organization operating within the Eastern District of North Carolina. As part of the investigation in this case, on August 8, 2006 agents intercepted $648,000.00 in U. S. currency in conjunction with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. Yesterday, agents conducted a traffic stop on a recreational vehicle driven by SINCLAIR, who was following ZAMARRIPA, and being followed by SANCHEZ-ALMARAZ in a third vehicle on U. S. Highway 1 in Wake Forest, North Carolina. Consent to search the RV was given and at that time a Raleigh Police Department K-9 unit was employed and alerted upon the rear of the RV and the car being towed on the trailer of the RV. During the search of the vehicle, law enforcement agents found approximately 100 individually wrapped bricks a white powdery substance that field tested positive for cocaine alkaloids and weighed approximately 100 kilograms.

Investigation of the case was conducted by the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration State and Local Task Force and Raleigh Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Thomas B. Murphy and Ethan A. Ontjes are handling the case for the United States. A Criminal Complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the Government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. A trial date has not yet been set.

 

News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.

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